Winnipeg Free Press | 20May2010 | Orest Slepokura

Self-defeating attacks

Of the 18 who died Tuesday [18May2010] at the hands of a Taliban suicide bomber in Kabul, six were military and 12 civilian. Thus, one in three or 33 per cent of the victims were combatants. By contrast, Pakistan's major daily The Dawn reported our American ally launched 44 Predator drone attacks in 2009, killing five senior al-Qaida and Taliban militants, but at a cost of more than 700 innocent civilians: A success rate of less than one per cent.

If this attack in Kabul, leaving dozens killed and wounded, sickens us, should we not conclude that U.S. Predator drone attacks, with their huge civilian casualty list, likewise sicken and dismay our Pakistani brethren? As Caleb Carr observed in The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare Against Civilians, any counterinsurgency that maims and claims the lives of many innocent civilians will not fare well in the court of public opinion, where the battle for popular support is waged.

Orest Slepokura, Strathmore, Alta.